My Corner of the World

My Corner of the World -

Red River Cookies/Cake – Base

So I’ve tried making cookies with this recipe and cake.  Both turn out well.  This recipe doesn’t make sweet cookies or cake so if you’re looking to use up the leftover Red River cereal and want something sweet, you’ll have to add sweetener, sugar, honey, maple syrup or whatever it is you’re wanting to make it sweeter with.   It would probably do well in a loaf pan as a “bread”.   I find it very nice with Betty Crocker French Vanilla icing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 c.brown Splenda
  • 2 medium mashed bananas
  • 1 1/4 c. cooked Red River cereal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract

Preparation:

Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside.  Mix the remaining ingredients.  When everything is mixed, if you want to add chocolate chips (or butterscotch etc. chips), shredded coconut, raisins, almonds or whatever, fold them into the batter now.

Cake:

Pour batter into a greased pan.  Bake at 350 C for about 45 – 60 min.   Check doneness periodically after 40 min.

Cookies:

Drop a tablespoon of batter onto a cookie sheet and leave about an inch of space between each.  Repeat until there’s no more room left.  Bake at 350 C for about 20 min.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

OK, so we call it bread but it’s really cake in the shape of bread ;-) Anyhow, I came across a recipe for this and changed it up to make it a little healthier anyhow. Here goes…

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. sweetener (baking Splenda)
  • 1/4 c.brown Splenda
  • 4 medium mashed bananas
  • 3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. chocolate chips (optional)

Preparation:

Mix first 6 ingredients (dry ones) and set aside.  Mix remaining ingredients except chocolate chips.  When everything is mixed, if you want to add your chocolate chips (or butterscotch etc. chips), fold them into the batter now.  Pour batter into a greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 C for an hour or so.

Beer Balls

So I had all this Garden Cocktail my uncle gave me that was past it’s best before date that I wanted to get used up.  Besides making cream of tomato soup (with soup mix legume/grain mix), I thought I’d try making some kind of beer ball dish.  What I came up with is actually quite good.  My uncle had brought down a pack of medium ground beef so I put my thinking cap on.  You could use lean or extra lean, but you might want to consider adding more eggs to hold it all together.

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

  • about 1 tbsp. bacon grease (use whatever oil you want, I don’t want to hear about bacon grease being unhealthy, it adds good taste)
  • 500 g. medium ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tube of soda biscuit, finely crushed (by hand is good enough)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 1/2 small onion, diced

Optional:

  • 1/2 large onion, diced or thinly sliced (optional)

Sauce:

  • about 2 c. Garden Cocktail
  • the better half of a beer (I wanted to get Beck’s non-alcohol beer used up, it worked well)
  • about 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 c. Ketchup
  • 1/3 c. medium garlic sauce (e.g. VH sauce)

Preparation:

Heat the oil (the bacon grease in my case) in a large sauce pan or frying pan.  Mix the meatball ingredients together and form into balls about 1″ to 1.5 ” in diameter (try not to overwork the meat otherwise it will be a little tough, not the end of the world though).  Place each meatball in the hot pan and cook on medium heat.

Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl.

As the meatballs are frying, add the optional loose onion in the pan and cover.  Turn meatballs occasionally and cook meat entirely.  Once the meat is cooked and the optional onion is translucent, add the sauce.  Cover and bring to a boil for about 20 minutes while stirring occasionally, then simmer on low for about a half hour.  Serve with potatoes, rice, or whatever side you like.

Honey Butter Tarts

I made butter tarts using honey this weekend and they turned out really well.  I made 3 without raisins, 5 with.  The ones without raisins turned out a little runny, but good nonetheless.  The ones with raisins were pretty normal…

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. soft butter
  • 2 Tbsp. brown Splenda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1 egg
  • about 1/4 c. raisins (optional)
  • about 1/4 c. pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preparation:

Mix the first 5 ingredients well until a creamy texture is achieved.  Fold the raisins and/or nuts into the mixture.  Spoon mixture into unbaked tart shells and bake for about 20 min. at 375 C.  Remove from oven (they’ll be runny when they’re hot so be careful!) and let cool thoroughly.  Refrigerate for a half hour if they’re still a bit runny to thicken them up.

Bread Machine English Muffins

I found this recipe by Fleischmann, so I modified it a bit to suit my needs.  It’s for bread, but I just divvied the dough up into balls, formed the English muffins, then pressed them into cornmeal.  OMG they are awesome.  Someday I’ll try the bread, but for now, I’ll stick with the English muffin format.  Anyhow, this is what I tried.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. warm water
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 1/2 c. bread flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. bread machine yeast
  • about 1/2 c. cornmeal (optional)

Preparation:

Add all ingredients except the cornmeal in your break maker in the order listed above.   Set to the dough setting and let the machine do all the work.   When done, on a lightly floured surface, separate the dough into 12 – 16 even clumps (depending on how big you want the English muffins to be (keep in mind, they will rise substantially).

Roll into balls and form into English muffins by pressing (flattening) the balls into the cornmeal.  Set on a cookie sheet (I lay a sheet of foil on it and spray it with cooking spray because sometimes it has a tendency to stick to the foil).  Form all the English muffins (you might need another cookie sheet) and let rise 20 to 30 minutes.

There are 2 ways to do this; I’ve tried both.  You can pan fry them at medium-low heat in a skillet about 7 min. on each side.  This works very well if you have a skillet with a highly non-stick coating (e.g. ceramic) or you can bake in the oven @350 or so for about 12 min.  Depending on how hot your oven is (they vary), you might want to decrease the temperature a little or put the English muffins on the highest rack in the oven.

 

Bread Machine Bagels! Mmmmmm!

OK, so I finally decided to try making bagels.  OMG why haven’t I done this sooner????  Seriously, I’m not buying my bagels ever again! :-)  I like slightly smaller bagels than what you buy.  Those store-bought ones that I would buy were on their way to 300 calories each!  The ones I make are slighly smaller and only 88 calories!  Whaaaaaat???  That’s right, 88 ;-)  Anyhow, they’re easy to make, don’t let the boiling bath they take scare you away.  It’s easy peasy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Preparation:

Add the ingredients in your break maker in the order listed above.  Set to the dough setting and let the machine do all the hard work :-)  When done, on a lightly floured surface, separate the dough into 16 even clumps.

Roll into a ball and make a hole in the center with your thumb.  Place on a greased sheet.  Rub a little butter on the top of each one and let rise in a warm place for a half hour.

The bath:  Just before the bagels have finished rising, add 12 c. water to a dutch oven and 1 Tbsp. sugar.  Bring to a boil.  When the bagels are done with their rising, gently and carefully place as many that will fit into hot water bath and let them simmer for 2 min. and turn over in the water.  Let the 2nd side simmer for about a minute.  Carefully remove from water (slotted spoon works well) and place on a couple of paper towels to dry them a little.  When they’ve dried a little (about a minute), place them back on the greased sheet.

Bake in the oven for about 20 min. on the center rack at 375 F.

Options:

I sprinkled course salt on almost half of them and cinnamon on the remaining ones.  Get creative.  sprinkle things on them!  My next batches will be a little more fun as I plan to incorporate sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and some other tasty items.  I’ll also be trying them with whole wheat flour.  Enjoy!

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

I made split pea soup in the Instant Pot (IP) last night for the first time.  I’m not a big fan of pea soup but I think that’s because I usually have had it from a can and it’s been a looooong time since I’ve had any at all.  Anyhow, last night I thought I’d try it.  It was really something I came up with in my head after seeing no actual recipe that I wanted to follow.  A lot of recipes called for ingredients I didn’t have so this is what I came up with.  We all enjoyed it (my uncle even had a couple of servings!), so I guess I wasn’t the only one who thought it turned out pretty good :-)

Ingredients:

  • About 3/4 head of celery
  • About 1 c finely sliced or chopped carrot (see note below)
  • About 9 c water
  • About 3 tbsp chicken Bovril
  • 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
  • 3 c split peas
  • 2 c cubed ham (no bigger than 1″)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 3/4 tsp savory
  • 3/4 tsp thyme

Preparation:

Add water and celery to the IP (it should come up to about the 10 c mark).  Pressure cook for 20 minutes (I used the meat/stew setting).  Do a quick release of the steam.  When safe to continue, carefully blend with an immersion blender to shred all the celery up (it should be very soft at that point).  Add remaining ingredients and stir well.  Pressure cook on the same setting for 40 minutes.  Do a quick release and when safe to continue, stir with a large spoon to break up the clumps of peas and give it a smooth consistency.

Notes:  

  • This will give you a very creamy texture to the soup without any pea pieces (they get mushy), but it’s very nice.
  • I left the celery in large pieces about 4″ long and used my immersion blender on it when cooked.  If you’d prefer not to do this, just thinly slice the celery before putting it in the IP.
  • Next time I will add a good cup (maybe 2!) of sliced carrots (I didn’t think I had any but turns out I did in the basement!).

Banana Cake

I found a banana cake recipe on Canadian Living’s site but modified it somewhat.  This is what I came up with and it’s quite good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c baking Splenda
  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 c mashed banana (about 3)

Preparation:

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Mix wet ingredients and bananas in another bowl.  Incorporate dry ingredients into wet ones and mix well (a hand blender or beater does wonders).  Pour into a greased cake dish (I used a 9″ square Pyrex dish) and bake at 350F for 50 – 60 minutes.

Beans

beans I made beans in our 6 qt Instant Pot (IP).  They turned out really well!  It didn’t make too much and 4 of us ate well from it with leftovers remaining at the end.

Note:

I now have an 8 quart IP.  You can easily make a whole bag of dry beans (about 4 cups) with it, just double the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c pinto beans dry, rinsed
  • c water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 500 g pack of bacon (cut in 1″ slices, you can use peameal bacon, ham, or any pork really)
  • 2 medium sliced onion
  • 3/4 c molasses
  • 2 tbsp packed brown Splenda (1/4 c if using regular brown sugar)
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preparation: Put first 3 ingredients in the Instant Pot (IP) and pressure cook for 60 min.  Slice bacon and onions, set aside.  Make mixture with remaining ingredients.  When the IP has finished its cycle, release pressure naturally or quickly, it doesn’t matter.  Drain beans (there won’t be much water left) and set aside in a big bowl (or keep them in the same insert while you use another insert for the bacon and onions).  In the IP, add bacon and onions, sautée until onions are soft and bacon is fairly cooked (not crispy).  Add beans and molasses mixture to IP, stir gently to mix everything, and pressure cook for another 20 min.   Serve hot or cold; the beans are awesome either way.

Beef Stew

Who doesn’t love stew?  Especially when it’s cold out, nothing warms and soothes quite like it.  Here’s how I do mine in our 6 qt Instant Pot (IP).

Ingredients:

  • about 3 lbs beef, cubed, trimmed of fat
  • about 5 med. potatoes, cubed
  • 1 small bag of baby carrots
  • about 4 or 5 stalks of celery, cut up in chunks
  • 2 large onions, cut in eighths
  • Other veggies (optional, just watch your IP space limits)
  • 4 c water
  • 2 packets gravy (I usually use French’s) or make a thickening agent of water, salt, and flour

Preparation:

Set the IP to the sauté setting and let the beef brown while you prepare the veggies.  Turn the beef a couple of times to get both sides browned.  Add vegetables and water to the IP.  Cover and set to “Meat” setting and let it pressure cook for 45 minutes.  Everything will be so tender when it’s done.  I do a quick release when it’s done.  Remove cover and set to sauté.  Add gravy packets or thickening agent and stir well.  Let the gravy heat a little for about 10 minutes.  Give it one final stir and serve.